top of page

Zero Waste Period in Coffee

“No waste” is the expression of the era! #How to use coffee grounds after brewing? Find out how coffee grounds waste can be reduced, but more importantly, how used coffee grounds can be recycled and #recycled! We are not talking about waste, we are talking about a raw material!

Before we move forward, let's find out what is the difference between the terms:

Upcycling: taking waste as it is, creating something completely new, often with a higher value than the original goods. For example, turning coffee grounds into shoes.

Recycling: sorting, shredding, and processing waste to create something entirely new that is of roughly the same value as the original goods. For example, a used plastic bottle is recycled and turned into a new plastic bottle, and at some point it gets recycled again.

Downcycling: Separating, breaking down and processing waste to extend its life cycle before disposing of raw materials. For example, an old T-shirt gets a new life as a cleaning rug.

How to minimize coffee waste

Of course we want to generate as little waste as possible. When talking about coffee in cafes and homes, this means:

Recycling of garbage and not sending it to landfill (coffee packets, used coffee grounds).

Contribute to small-scale upcycling or industrial upcycling.

Purchasing and brewing on demand.

Remembering FIFO (= first in, first out).

How to recycle used coffee grounds

There are numerous products that can be industrially recycled from coffee grounds. Here are just a few of the examples that can be found online:

Coffee oil for all kinds of food and beverage products

Clothes and shoes for a true coffee lover

3D printing material for printing almost anything (but not hot items)

Glasses and other tableware for a sustainable kitchen and restaurant

Furniture and decorations like sofas and lamps for the indoor oriented coffee person

Bioenergy: Coffee-based fuel has been tested on London public transport and has coffee-based electricity been used to light homes, Christmas trees and what?

Carbon capture – removal of harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Ingredient for cosmetic oils and solid cosmetics for personal hygiene such as soap, shampoo, face scrub and similar products

"Fire logs" for your fireplace - they contain more energy and generate more heat than a real wood log!

As you can see from the list above, many commercial projects in the industry collect coffee grounds. Be curious and do a Google search - you may find a company looking forward to your coffee grounds!

Options for an eco-friendly barista

Ok, now we know some fancy ideas and complex processes for reusing used coffee grounds. But what can we do on an individual level? Many smaller measures can be taken!

Compost the soils properly rather than sending it to a landfill.

Feed your garden with a small amount of coffee grounds to improve drainage, water retention and aeration, to attract worms and microorganisms beneficial for plant growth, or simply as mulch.

Use the ground as a bed for mushroom planting. It is interesting, educational and almost addictive to follow a slow progressing process.

Fill your worm bin with ground coffee, as worms love this substance.

Sand an icy walkway using coffee grounds and make sure no one slips or falls over.

Make a coffee face mask or scrub, or use the grounds as a shampoo.

Create a work of art: a painting or installation.

Paint food or textiles and enjoy beautiful golden melodies.

For example, neutralize odors in the refrigerator.

Polish silver and kitchenware.

Hide scratches on wood surfaces.

What to do with leftover coffee and coffee packets?

Did you know that most plants love coffee? So go ahead and water them down using the leftover coffee!

One option is to make ice cubes and use them as the base for a punch bowl's coffee drinks.

And let's not forget the endless possibilities in the kitchen. For example, vinegar and leftover coffee in both sweet and savory pastries will take on new life.

Coffee packets are the perfect material for crafting! Key chains, earrings, snow gliders, even clothing and accessories can be made from a used coffee pack.

Coffee packs are also recyclable


bottom of page